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Stop And Frisk
by L. Neil Smith
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
The first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, is the highest law of the land. If for some reason you happen to disagree with me about that (probably because of your public “education”), and with the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court, there’s no point in your reading further. Put it cybernetically, the Bill of Rights is the basic operating system of the country and the sole source of American exceptionalism. If we don’t have that we have nothing. We might as well be Belgium.
The Second of those Amendments famously maintains that the government may not interfere, even in the slightest, with the individual right to own and carry weapons. Lesser lights than the Founders over the centuries have been absolutely terrified at the idea of a well-armed populace (“Your people, sir, are a great beast!” said Alexander Hamilton), and have attempted desperately to limit that right and gradually whittle it away.
The most pertinent and obnoxious example of that (only one of many) is the 1911 New York Sullivan Act, named after an infamously corrupt Tammany Hall (look it up) politician, meant primarily to disarm Italian immigrants that politicians were frightened by. The law was so egregious that even notorious gun-grabber Wyatt Earp questioned Sullivan’s mental health.
The Act pretended to provide a legal path to obtaining, owning, and carrying guns, but in practice it virtually stripped New Yorkers of their right—and means—to self-defense. Since criminals, by definition, do not obey laws, the city was well on its way to becoming one of the most violent places in America. Today, if you want to own and carry a gun in New York, you need a good lawyer and powerful political connections—just the opposite of what the anti-elitist Founders intended.
Let me restate that, so there can be no mistake about what I’m saying here: New York’s notorious violent crime problem is the direct, inevitable result of unconstitutional gun control laws (read the Amendment: there can be no such thing as a Constitutional gun law, just as there can be no such thing as an “illegal gun”), beginning with the 1911 Sullivan Act. True, some courts have ruled otherwise over the years. They are wrong, and usually operating on the basis of historical, political, or linguistic ignorance. (In the Amendment, “Well-regulated”, for example, in the 18th century, meant guns that all used the same-size bullet.)
Thus it was that the Big Apple, which should be the most civilized city in world history, became the Third World toilet that it is today, the playground for half a dozen different varieties of Mafia (Italian, Columbian, Russian, etc.), and a free-fire zone for criminal gangs. (Drug prohibition doesn’t help, just as alcohol prohibition launched the Mob, as we know it today.) My mother used to tell me, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” and your mother probably told you the same thing. In fact, they make an even greater wrong.
And so the great city’s administrative sub-geniuses, aghast at the squalid mess their class had deposited on the sidewalk by abrogating the Second Amendment, decided, in their utter absence of wisdom, to clean it up by abrogating the Fourth. They authorized the police to conduct “stop and frisk” procedures, meaning that an individual could be shaken down on the street if some cop thought (or claimed he thought) he might be carrying a gun.
The Fourth Amendment maintains “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The fudge-word, of course, is “unreasonable”. What in the hallowed name of Noah Webster does that mean? Whatever some gaggle of tin-pot dictators including cops and cherry-picked ignorant, illiterate judges) want it to mean. I blame the Founders for this (I smell a Hamilton in the wood-pile somewhere) as I do the historically tragic error they made by not providing severe punishment for government officials who violate the Bill of Rights.
But consider this: how can you lawfully (or even logically) search people for illegal weapons when, under the Second Amendment, there is no such thing? And even if you could, where the bloody hell is their warrant, specifically “describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”?
Former Mayor Rudy Guliani wretched up this particular dog’s breakfast and Il Duce Michael Bloomberg, although he is now apologizing for it, let it continue when he was Mayor. Crime dropped a bit in New York under stop and frisk, the same way it would if the cops broke everybody’s arms. Now it is politically incorrect—and remains illegal as hell—no matter what some bought-and-paid-for judges proclaim.
So my message to the entire putrid collection of ward-heelers (and those in Chicago and Californistan, as well) is to cease both unconstitutional practices immediately. Respect and enforce the Bill of Rights. It is (or ought to be) the politicians’ Ten Commandments. Wait until somebody actually commits a crime (carrying a gun is not one of them, according to James Madison) before you decide to throw him up against the wall. And above all, rely on the people—and, at minimum, a .380 Auto or a .38 Special in every pocket or purse—to clean up your crappy town.
Award-winning writer L. Neil Smith is Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and Amazon.com. He is available at professional rates, to write for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-60s. His writings (and e-mail address) may be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at JPFO.org or at Patreon. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essay was originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. If you like what you’ve seen and want to see more, he says. ”Don’t applaud, throw money.“
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